Bill Northey — the farmer from Spirit Lake who remains in the elected position of state ag secretary — has not directly addressed a senator’s hold on his nomination for a job in the U.S.D.A. but on Wednesday night, Northey indirectly mentioned it during a speech at an Iowa Republican Party fundraiser.
“It’s great to be here with you tonight. I can honestly say I didn’t know if I was going to be here or not. I thought I might be off into Washington, but one of the great blessings of kind of a slow process for me to get through my confirmation is to be able to be here with all of you and to get a chance to be able to say ‘Thank you’ as well.”
AUDIO of Northey’s speech
Northey was first elected as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture in 2006 and he won reelection in 2010 and 2014. Northey thanked his fellow Republicans for supporting his first leap into politics nearly 12 years ago.
“As much as we try and forget it, we lost most of our races in 2006 and many of you were a huge part in helping me squeak by into the start of a Republican movement in the state of Iowa,” Northey said. “And you all have been very, very supportive and I appreciate it so much.”
Northey finished less than three percent ahead of his Republican opponent in 2006. He was the only Republican to win statewide elected office that year.
On September 1st of this year, President Trump nominated Northey to be the U.S.D.A. Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is blocking a vote on Northey’s nomination. The move tied to the senator’s request that President Trump meet with oil-state senators who oppose federal production mandates for ethanol and biodiesel.